As a bank, Erste Group is not using a lot of different natural resources. The main resources Erste Group consumes are: electric energy, energy for heating and warm water, fuel for business cars and paper (especially copy paper). Consumption of water and production of waste is not relevant and will therefore not be reported at all. To be able to manage the consumption of natural resources effectively, it is necessary to have a proper system in place on how to measure the consumption.
Based on the total consumption, clear targets about a more efficient consumption have been defined. The reduction targets set for the years 2012 to 2016 led to a notable decline in CO2e-emissions by -28%, electric energy -13%, heating energy -18%, and copy paper -20%.
Based on the data for 2018, new relative rather than absolute reduction targets for the following areas will be set by the end of 2019 for the following years: electric and heating energy consumption per square meter of office floor space (kWh/m2) or CO2e-emissions per employee, consumption of copy paper per employee (kg/FTE), and the share of hybrid or electric business cars.
Implementation of environmental management systems
ISO 14001 and/or ISO 50001 certifications in Croatia, Slovakia and Hungary have been completed, while implementation at the Holding and Erste Bank Oesterreich has been postponed to 2019/2020. Out of the Austrian savings banks, Steiermärkische Sparkasse has been ISO 14001 certified and Allgemeine Sparkasse Oberösterreich is ISO 50001 certified.
All material subsidiaries are expected to implement a certified environmental/energy management system by year-end 2020. This should create the basis for efficient monitoring of environmental data at all material entities.
Measures to reduce office paper consumption
The trend towards digitalisation in the banking business helps to reduce paper consumption. To minimize its environmental impact, Erste Group continuously runs paper-saving initiatives and takes ecological criteria, aiming for the goal of purchasing 100% recycled paper only, into account. In all countries outside Austria this target is nearly reached. Holding and Erste Bank Oesterreich are already close to 100%.